Perry Farmers Market to close 2020 season Thursday

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The Perry Chamber of Commerce will host the final weekly Perry Farmers Market of the 2020 summer season Thursday, Sept. 24 from 4-7 p.m., with vendors on Second Street between Willis Avenue and Warford Street in downtown Perry.

The one-block portion of Second Street will be closed to motor vehicle traffic starting at 2 p.m., but one-way drop-off and pick-up traffic will be allowed from Willis Avenue to the alley adjacent to Josh Davis Plaza.

In addition to the usual fresh produce and baked goods, market shoppers can select items from a pop-up of First Christian Church’s Clothes Closet in Josh Davis Plaza. Available items will include jackets, sweatshirts, hats and more. No clothing donations will be accepted during the Perry Farmers Market but may be delivered to the church at selected times. Call 515-465-2215 for more information.

“We are working on a safe plan to reopen the Clothes Closet as soon as possible,” said Pastor Andrea Brownlee of First Christian Church, “but for now we hope that this pop-up at the Perry Farmers Market will help those in need prepare for cooler temperatures ahead.”

Market shoppers with vouchers for the WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) are reminded that this week’s market is the last chance to use those benefits with certified vendors at the Perry Farmers Market.

Shoppers who receive SNAP benefits and who might have received Double Up Food Bucks at Fareway are encouraged to use those coupons for fresh fruits and vegetables with any vendor at the Perry Farmers Market.

“We are so excited to finally be able to accept the Double Up Food Bucks,” said Lynsi Pasutti, executive director of the Perry Chamber of Commerce and manager of the Perry Farmers Market. “It took us almost the full season to get the market certified with the USDA to accept SNAP benefits, including the Double Up Food Bucks with Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative. We had to turn a lot of those coupons away, so we hope shoppers have saved them and are able to use them at the final market of the season.”

Other highlights of the 2020 summer season of the market included a PHS Booster Club pop-up and monthly produce giveaways through the Perry Public Library’s Healthy Steps program. The program encourages eating more fruits and vegetables by purchasing and giving away produce once a month.

Almost $1,000 worth of produce — from 36 dozen ears of corn in July to three pallets of watermelon in August and eight bushels of apples in September — was given out to market shoppers through the initiative.

“We had a shorter season this year due to a delayed start to ensure we were taking the proper precautions against the spread of COVID-19,” said Pasutti, “but overall it was a huge success! The market proved to be a much-needed resource for the community, not only for access to locally grown produce, of course, but also for a safe outdoor activity amid so many event cancelations. It is exciting to think about what next season will look like because, despite everything, we have really done a great job of building up a solid foundation for the market to continue to grow in future years.”

More information will be released regarding occasional off-season markets, as dates are determined. In the meantime, Perry Farmers Market shoppers are asked to provide feedback via an online survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/2020PerryMarket

As a reminder, visitors to the Perry Farmers Market are encouraged to stay healthy and help keep others healthy while at the market. This includes staying home when feeling unwell, maintaining 6ft between other shoppers, wearing a face covering during the market, and washing or sanitizing hands before and after the market.

For more information on the Perry Farmers Market, visit www.perryia.org/farmers-market.html or contact the Perry Chamber of Commerce at 515-465-4601.

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